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The mid-8th century CE surface faulting along the Dead Sea Fault at Tiberias (Sea of Galilee, Israel)
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  • Maria Francesca Ferrario,
  • Oded Katz,
  • Avner Hillman,
  • Franz A. Livio,
  • Rivka Amit,
  • Alessandro Maria Michetti
Maria Francesca Ferrario
Università degli studi dell'Insubria, Università degli studi dell'Insubria

Corresponding Author:francesca.ferrario@uninsubria.it

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Oded Katz
Geological Survey of Israel, Geological Survey of Israel
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Avner Hillman
Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Antiquities Authority
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Franz A. Livio
Universita' dell'Insubria, Universita' dell'Insubria
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Rivka Amit
Geological Survey of Israel, Geological Survey of Israel
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Alessandro Maria Michetti
University of Insubria, Como, Italy, University of Insubria, Como, Italy
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The Dead Sea Fault (DSF) is a plate-boundary where large earthquakes are expected and largely overdue due to the lack of such events in the instrumental era. Sequences of earthquakes along the DSF are documented by historical evidence, one of the most devastating occurred in the mid-8th century CE. Here we describe site-specific archaeoseismological observations at the ancient Tiberias city, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. We map Roman and Byzantine relics faulted in the mid-8th century CE by a pure normal fault. We use geophysical, geomorphological and structural analyses integrated with published data, to assess the seismic hazard of the Jordan Valley Western Boundary Fault (JVWB). We propose that the normal JVWB can rupture the surface along its ~45 km trace running from Tiberias toward the S crossing Bet Shean, Tel Rehov and Tel Teomim. The JVWB, parallel to the main strike-slip Jordan Valley Fault segment, might be regarded as a major earthquake source in this region. We test the hypotheses of both single fault and multi-faults rupture scenarios, which result in an expected range of Mw from 6.9 (single rupture of the JVWB) to 7.6 (multiple rupture of the JVWB and Jordan Valley Fault). Our results suggest that seismic source characterization in the Sea of Galilee region must include normal faults capable of surface rupturing, despite the absence of such events in the instrumental catalogue.